Looking at the devastation, I can't believe there are only 5 deaths reported so far. It's fortunate the Japanese build to withstand these things.
The one headline we won't see out of alll of this mess is "Millions saved by engineering and government building codes". It's amazing what can be done when you combine resources with actual legal enforcement of things. Think about it, here in LA where we have a bunch of old buildings that were exempted from standards or improperly retrofitted, we got hit by a 6.7 in 94 and loss ~33 people. There are still places being retrofitted from that damn quake.
I was looking for exactly this. Japan is really just about fine; the reactor problem is an emergency situation, but not yet a disaster. Some disasters did occur--massive radiation spiking for a few hours around the 400,000uSv per hour mark (note that 1Sv makes you radiation sick, and that's 40% there; radiation sickness isn't "starting to get bad," it's well past significant damage). I was hoping the high radiation would stay under the 10,000uSv/hr mark, up to which I'd stay indoors but largely not be happy about... but that's not a lot of radiation really, health effects are minimal. It came back to under 1uSv eventually, like after several hours eventually, so 10,000uSv for a few hours would have been okay, unlike the 400,000uSv they got.
Even then, though, Japan has had incredibly bad luck: three reactors failed, then the overbuilt and over-elevated generators got hit with a wave twice as high as they thought was possible ever. Cascading failure occurred: reactors failed, backup generators failed, no power to the cooling system means the reactors went into critical condition, cooled by seawater, but without the pumps the spent fuel rods boiled off their cooling pool and started to smolder (risk of fire, explosion, release of even more radiation and toxic compounds)... this is because a giant wave that they planned for was twice as big as they thought possible--they actually planned for well beyond what should have ever happened, with breakwaters and elevation above what could reach shore even without the breakwaters. Bad luck.
But the people are not panicked. Japan is a strong people, and they are working through it. Most of the country hit with the earthquake roughly does not care; daily life goes on, most buildings shook a bit, in-construction buildings in Tokyo didn't even come down. Japan is mainly just fine; in fact, if they had gotten the nuclear cooling systems back up immediately, they would be roughly "not in a state of emergency" and just busy getting everyone running water.
Compare to Haiti. One little earthquake and everything falls apart, everybody dies. What was that, an 8.0? A 9.0 is an order of magnitude bigger.
I'm very much glad this happened to Japan and not any other country in the world, where it would quickly turn into a nuclear holocaust with 800,000 people dead in a country that's incapable of doing anything at all about the rapidly worsening nuclear plant problem because that entire half of the country is leveled into rubble and the roads are impassable and supplies and people cannot be brought there. Imagine if this happened in the US ... it'd be like Katrina, but with a nuclear power plant melting down, catching fire, and spewing ten thousand tons of uranium and plutonium smoke into the atmosphere. In the end, half of the US would be sterile or dead.